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GregoryBeyrer
Community Champion

How do I limit the amount of points that can be earned in an Assignment Group?

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I have a grade item in my class called Active Participant in Discussion worth 30 points total. I create an Assignment Group for the various discussions in the class where students demonstrate active participation. There are ten and are worth three points each.

My challenge is how to encourage discourse while also allowing students to focus their efforts on the topics that interest them. I give them up to three points for a quality initial post and one point for replies to classmates with a maximum of five points per discussion. So a particularly active student could earn 50 points across the ten discussions but I will only count 30 toward the course grade. I am confident students will not always have the syllabus in mind ("up to 30 points for being an active participant in discussion") when they are looking at their grades.

What do you think is the best way to manage it? I can manage it manually but it would be great if there was some setting in individual assignments or assignment groups that could help me do this more efficiently. This all could be an idea for a Canvas improvement ("Allow Maximum Points for an Assignment Group"), but I decided to try a question first to see what the always-awesome Canvas Community can come up with.

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @GregoryBeyrer 

First, I think the idea of submitting a feature request that would allow faculty the ability to weight assignment groups by either points or percentages would be wonderful. Might even garner considerable support.

I am a big fan of Discussions, and make heavy use of them. In fact, in most of my courses they count for 20+% of my total grade, and some of my Professional Development courses are entirely discussion-based. The latter are a lot of work, but produce some awesome results!

I am also a big fan of giving students choice. Choice is a great engagement tool! 

My quick and easy suggestion is to provide choice opportunities in each discussion, make the discussion valuable in terms of points, and always use a rubric to better guide student responses, and make your grading easier and more consistent. This way you can offer choice and bypass the scoring limitations of Canvas. Another thing I do to guide student responses is to collect exemplary examples from past students - not the best, but good ones that meet the rubric's grading guidelines - and I post an example below the instructions. Often students have a hard time understanding what is expected of them in a discussion, and the rubric and examples really help.

One of my favorite discussion choice-formats are virtual field trips. I give my students a broad topic, then ask them to research an aspect of that topic on the internet. They report back about the website they discovered, what they learned about their choice of a more narrow aspect of the topic. Then, they must choose a classmate who had picked a website different than theirs, go to that website, and report back something new they learned about their classmate's website and their aspect of the overall topic.

I hope this helps, and I have also provided some nice resources for discussion strategies below. One note about engaging topics, I teach higher ed, and I like to pick somewhat controversial current topics for my discussions and asked my students to share their opinions with well researched supporting information. This can even be done in K12, although some care must be exercised to not offend the overly delicate sensibilities of parents.

I hope this helps, and I am truly sorry it took so long for someone to answer your question. We'll try to do better next time, and if you have follow-up questions, don't hesitate to ask.

KLM

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3 Replies
kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @GregoryBeyrer 

First, I think the idea of submitting a feature request that would allow faculty the ability to weight assignment groups by either points or percentages would be wonderful. Might even garner considerable support.

I am a big fan of Discussions, and make heavy use of them. In fact, in most of my courses they count for 20+% of my total grade, and some of my Professional Development courses are entirely discussion-based. The latter are a lot of work, but produce some awesome results!

I am also a big fan of giving students choice. Choice is a great engagement tool! 

My quick and easy suggestion is to provide choice opportunities in each discussion, make the discussion valuable in terms of points, and always use a rubric to better guide student responses, and make your grading easier and more consistent. This way you can offer choice and bypass the scoring limitations of Canvas. Another thing I do to guide student responses is to collect exemplary examples from past students - not the best, but good ones that meet the rubric's grading guidelines - and I post an example below the instructions. Often students have a hard time understanding what is expected of them in a discussion, and the rubric and examples really help.

One of my favorite discussion choice-formats are virtual field trips. I give my students a broad topic, then ask them to research an aspect of that topic on the internet. They report back about the website they discovered, what they learned about their choice of a more narrow aspect of the topic. Then, they must choose a classmate who had picked a website different than theirs, go to that website, and report back something new they learned about their classmate's website and their aspect of the overall topic.

I hope this helps, and I have also provided some nice resources for discussion strategies below. One note about engaging topics, I teach higher ed, and I like to pick somewhat controversial current topics for my discussions and asked my students to share their opinions with well researched supporting information. This can even be done in K12, although some care must be exercised to not offend the overly delicate sensibilities of parents.

I hope this helps, and I am truly sorry it took so long for someone to answer your question. We'll try to do better next time, and if you have follow-up questions, don't hesitate to ask.

KLM

View solution in original post

chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi there,  @GregoryBeyrer ‌...

I thought that I would check in with you because we've not heard from you since you first posted this question in late January.  Have you had an opportunity to review the above response from  @kmeeusen ‌?  If so, did it help to answer your question?  Or, are you still looking for some help with your question?  If you feel that his response answered your question, please go ahead and mark it as "Correct".  However, if you are still looking for some help, please come back to this discussion thread to provide an update so that members of the Canvas Community can continue to help you with your question.  For now, I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered", but that won't prevent you or others from posting additional replies below.  I hope that's okay with you.  Looking forward to hearing from you soon, Gregory.

GregoryBeyrer
Community Champion

Thanks  @kmeeusen ‌ for your response and  @chofer ‌ for following up. At the time I wrote I was days away from teaching my first "official" Canvas class and looking to replicate something I had done in my former LMS. What I ended up doing was setting the points possible as I did before, and I told myself I would manually check to see if any students exceeded the points possible for that assignment group. But then the semester got started and I forgot to do that. I am teaching that class again in the fall and will do some more exploring when I update it. I will mark Kelley's answer as correct and catch up when I revisit my discussion grades in August.

It's funny how teaching other teachers how to use a system, even when using that system and giving them assignments with grades and feedback, is not quite the same as teaching students when using the same system. I had been using Canvas to teach my peers how to teach with Canvas for over a year before I finally taught students with Canvas. I have experienced the corollary of Elsa's line, "It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small."

And I'm so excited I get to give points to people who are helpful thanks to changes in the Canvas Community since I posted my question in January. Smiley Happy